They will be among 61 students from across Northern Ireland on the Study USA programme, which enables students to study business or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) subjects for a year in American colleges, across 28 States, helping to develop their career prospects when they return to Northern Ireland.
The British Council, which is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, manages Study USA on behalf of the Department for the Economy – and since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent over 2000 students from Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States.
Michael Doherty (21) from Strabane, is currently studying Accounting at Ulster University’s Magee Campus. He will spend the next academic year at Hanover College in Indiana.
Speaking ahead of his departure, he said:
“I think that the Study USA programme is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it will be great to move across the world and experience the American lifestyle while furthering my studies.
“I am definitely nervous about moving away from family and friends but also very excited to experience the American college lifestyle, travel to new places and meet new people. I feel through this opportunity, that I will become more confident, and independent, gain valuable international experience, and hopefully meet lifelong friends from across the world which may open many doors in the future.”
Meanwhile Allie McCusker (20), from Enniskillen is currently studying Law. She will spend the next year at Blackburn College, Illinois.
“I decided to take part in the Study USA programme because it is an amazing opportunity for people who want to experience a completely different way of living. As a law student, I think the opportunity to study business is a great way to develop new skills, that match well with the course I have chosen to study. Also, we are able to take an elective class of entirely our own choosing, which gives us the freedom to take a class that is unrelated to anything we have studied before, and is something we show personal interest in.
“When I return home, I will finish my final year at Magee, and then I hope to start preparing for a career as a solicitor, preferably in the criminal law area.”
The Study USA programme was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but with current conditions, it has been decided that the programme can proceed this academic year.
Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said:
“This has been a challenging year for our students, and we are delighted that they will be able to take part in the programme this coming academic year. They will join a growing alumni of students to act as ambassadors for Northern Ireland and our institutions, developing important long-term links and connections between the two countries. Through international mobility programmes like Study USA, students are able to enhance their employability skills and also obtain greater intercultural understanding, helping to prepare them for work in a global economy. We wish this year’s students every success, and trust that new connections and friendships will be developed in the year ahead.”
Study USA continues the British Council’s work, building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. To find out more about their work in Northern Ireland visit nireland.britishcouncil.org or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Applications for Study USA 2022/23 will open in late Autumn.